Atelier for Young Festival Managers, Merano, a participant's insights

5 December 2017

Jade Adamson, Arts Producer & Dance Artist, participated in the Atelier for Young Festival Managers, Merano, Italy, 17 – 23 November 2017. She shares her experience in this article below : 

"It's been just over a week since the closing of Atelier Merano 2017 and I have been thinking of how best to condense a week's worth of experience and dialogue into this post  - I aim to offer some insight into the main points of discussion and bring awareness to some of the issues raised. It would be impossible to detail everything here so I'm keen to keep the conversations going and invite anybody who is interested in finding out more to get in touch. 

Firstly, I want to give a brief run down on what was a truly inspiring, intense, affirming, idea sparking, courage giving, passion sharing and thought-provoking week. The Atelier brought together 22 early career festival managers along with 8 experienced and generous international festival directors; it immersed us in the beautiful, half german /half italian speaking, city of Merano in the autonomous Italian province of South Tyrol; it took place within the context of the Meraner Musikwochen/Settimane Musicali Meranesi festival, who were outstanding co-organisers and hosts and organised a plethora of activities for us to experience local art and culture, cuisine and of course, great wine. 

On the experience as a whole, what stood out for me was the uniqueness of the opportunity to bring focus towards reflecting on what we do and why and how we do it -  offering an invaluable insight and providing instant access to a diverse range of perspectives, practices and approaches. I loved the atmosphere the festival academy created too - which at times (in a fun way) felt like we were all back at school again - bonding with likeminded people, learning lots, coming up with ideas and perhaps even rebellion.

So...what did we speak about? 

Each participant was invited to present a short paper on their interests or ideas and the week was shaped around those. The themes were very much participant led, even beyond the scheduled discussions and mentor talks these conversations often carried on late into the evening over dinner and other evening activities. 

You can find my paper here

The necessary topics that transpired were, in no particular order of priority; Politics, Practicalities and Resources, Curating, Audience (Development and Engagement), Accessibility, Internal and External Communication, Team Building and Retention, Identity/Vision/Mission, Artist Development and Ecology."

Read the rest of the article where you will find more details about the discussions on Jade's blog: Reflecting on Atelier Merano